APRIL 2008
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Lucy has finished her experience with us and routines apart fencing has been our project. We have been putting post and rail up on the top paddock of the Key field combining this with the start or putting a footbridge over the marshy area where the paddock meets the Humpety Back field. This has always proved a problem for wet weather visits and the bridge will prevent anymore water filled wellies. Although myself and any fellow constructors may well have to suffer this first as Me, Simon and Lucy all fell victim. It certainly isn’t very spring like yet and grass growth is slow so I’m hoping this weekend’s cold snap will be the last and we will get some warmer weather. The cows certainly seem to know as they are still quite happy to just walk straight back to the shed post milking and they aren’t spending time gazing wistfully over the gate hoping for release.

Yesterdayís comment about the cows must have been prophetic as we woke up to 3 inches of snow this morning however by 3 it had all but disappeared Simon seemed quite put out at my sending him out to take photographs but I think once he got out there he enjoyed himself. Its not every year you can take snow covered field and tree pictures in April. We are due our annual assurance†inspection visit next Friday and Derek the inspector commented ďdonít worry the cows will be out by the time I comeĒ when he phoned to†confirm his appointment. I intend to remind him of this as we stand in the shed with the cows.

The cold and wet continues so most of the cows are still inside current temperature 3.3c. Derek the inspector cam yesterday no too much to report repair cubicle shed roof post gale damage and keep more intensive health records. I can manage that. Now we have stopped Muckpreading here the tractor and spreader are going over to Norcroft.† Last week I bought some tractor diesel (57.02 ppl) this Thursday Graham has bought some (61.4ppl)†that is just the increase during a week !!!. On a more positive note on Wednesday I did see a Swallow passing over the farm although none of our resident pairs have yet arrived so surly it must warm up soon.

Still a slow spring plants seem to be struggling to grow by daylight length certainly not soil temperature. We currently are in a cold easterly wind. On Wednesday Simon , Peter and I put a replacement window in the door of the IH 784 as the previous had broken in a gale last spring and for the last couple of days I have been rolling with it and given the cross wind when I did the drive field VERY glad we fixed it. Some of the cows went out on Tuesday and despite the wind seem glad for their change of diet. Wednesday also saw our first visitors for the spring Nantwich cub pack I was a fine evening and we went for a field walk and pond dip but in the pond there was far less than I would expect for mid April due to the cold.. However the cold must be going to end soon as Smidge has started to shed her winter coat.

Warmer weather at last 16.2c maximum yesterday and we have 4 resident swallows. All the silage fields have now been rolled a little bit of fertilizer next week and then leave them until silaging time. Yesterday I attended an evening semminar for teachers at the Reaseheath college organised by Louise from the Year of Food and Farming initiative. I havenít been to the college for a couple of years but things ertainly are happening with a large building programme currently going on. Listening to their schools co-ordinator Margaret Iím sure they will be really well equipped for the future. Itís raining as I write so the cows we are letting out will get a good soaking today and if it hasnít gone off by milking time tonight milking wet cows tonight not my favourite passtime.

That's it for this month regards Phil



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